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The Mavericks could learn a lot from the Golden State Warriors

The Mavericks would like you to believe they are operating on two timelines. It’s clear that’s not the case.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

In many ways, the Golden State Warriors should serve as a warning of what could happen to this iteration of the Mavericks. Years ago, the Warriors had a rare opportunity to inject youth into what was a championship core. James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody were sold as the bridge to the next great version of the Warriors. The owner came out and stated the team was operating on “Two Timelines”.

At first, it seemed as if the Warriors had truly accomplished a rare feat. On one hand a core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green could continue to compete for titles. On the other, the previously mentioned young core would be gradually integrated into the team while ring chasing vets could be used to plug in holes.

It worked for a while, until it didn’t. There were opportunities to trade for veteran talent that could immediately make the team better, but management resisted. They did not want to sacrifice the future and wanted to be prepared for a post-Curry world. Curry’s continued brilliance, however, made that difficult. It was clear Curry was good enough to lead a team to a title, but he needed help to do so. During that time, the young core essentially flamed out. James Wiseman has yet to prove he is capable of earning consistent minutes and was ultimately traded. Moses Moody has shown some promise but is behind Klay and others in the pecking order. Jonathan Kuminga, thus far, has been the lone player capable of helping the team win games and even he has butted heads with Steve Kerr over playing time.

So, what does any of this have to do with the Mavericks?

As much as the team, and its fans, want to embrace and believe in a gradual team building process, the Mavericks are and should be in win now mode. The Mavericks made their bed when they traded for Kyrie Irving and now have to lie in it. On the court, he has been electric. He has played like an all-star and carried the team to a place where they have a non-zero chance at hosting a first round playoff series. Unfortunately, he continues to be nagged by injuries and has missed several stretches of games. It’s impossible to predict injuries but it’s safe to say that father time always wins. He has shown no indication of taking a step back athletically, but that day is closer than we think.

Because of that, it’s imperative that we maximize his talent in the short term. The team cannot have a long-term outlook when it comes to Irving’s production. He could and should continue his level of play for this season, but it would be foolish to assume he’s a lock to look this good next year.

As a result, the team has a decision to make. They could wait until draft night, let the obligation to the Knicks convey, and give themselves access to more picks which would give them more ammunition to bring in an impact player. The other option would be to package some combination of Grant Williams, the lone first round pick they currently have at their disposal, and one of the team’s young players (Hardy, O-Max, etc.) for the best possible return. Even if they went all-in and put every asset on the table, a number of teams could easily outbid them. That limits the quality of player the team can bring in. They won’t be shopping at or near the top of the trade market. At best, the team is looking at a second or third tier type player. Is that worth it? By waiting till the summer, the team would give themselves the best chance of bringing in a true impact player. By that time, however, a lot of things would have to go right. Kyrie would have to avoid a serious injury or attrition due to age. Grant Williams would have to play well enough to maintain some sort of trade value. His value is pretty low as it stands but it could get worse. Can the younger players avoid James Wiseman’s fate?

With a lack of draft capital to offer, Dallas has to hope other teams find their young players appealing. It’s possible a team view Josh Green’s deal as a bargain. Maybe someone like Charlotte is willing to bet on Jaden Hardy developing into a consistent scorer. It’s not an easy predicament that the team finds itself in, but the wrong choice could have a disastrous effect on the team’s ability to compete at a high level. Cashing in the limited assets could fail to deliver a needle mover. By waiting until the summer, it’s possible the team finds itself even further away from contention and the added ammo proves to be meaningless.